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U.S. House Approves Medical Exams for Balloon Pilots Following Fatal Texas Accident

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a new measure requiring medical checks for commercial hot air balloon pilots. The bill was spurred by a 2016 hot air balloon crash that killed 16 people in Texas.

Details of the New Federal Aviation Bill

According to the Insurance Journal, the vote was cast on Friday and will put I place a provision that requires all commercial hot air balloon pilots receive medical checks similar to those required for helicopter and airline pilots.

Following the 2016 crash, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the pilot, Alfred “Skip” Nichols, was probably impaired by Valium, opioids, and other drugs. Federal investigators scolded the FAA for what they saw as lax oversight.

The Senate has not yet considered its own version of the legislation.

Hot Air Balloon Fatalities

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the regulations for operating hot air balloon tours are severely lacking.

The NTSB has recommended more stringent requirements for hot air balloon operators, but they have been denied by the Federal Aviation Authority.

The NTSB warned the FAA of the dangers of unregulated air balloons in 2014 and 2016.

Prior to the 2016 accident, there had been 25 balloon accidents since 2014 with 4 fatalities and 25 serious injuries.

Current FAA Hot Air Balloon Certification Requirements

According the Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA)  this is some information needed  to needed to obtain a certification.

  • An airworthiness certificate is an FAA document which grants authorization to operate an aircraft in flight.
  • A registered owner or owner’s agent of an aircraft may apply for an airworthiness certificate.
  • Only FAA Aviation Safety Inspectors and authorized Representatives of the Administrator are authorized to issue an FAA airworthiness certificate.
  • The FAA can revoke an existing airworthiness certificate in any category  if the aircraft no longer meets its approved design and/or is not in an airworthy condition

Contact an Experienced Aviation Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident involving an aircraft, contact Thomas J. Henry. We represent victims injured in plane crashes, hot air balloon accidents, skydiving accidents, and any other incident involving aviation vehicles. Our experienced aviation accident and injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim.

Contact us today for a free legal consultation so we can determine if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. Our firm has offices in Corpus ChristiSan Antonio, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide.

Contact Us for a Free Case Review


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